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Man Who Overcame Dyslexia To Become College Honors Graduate, Author To Speak On South Coast


He was a young boy, filled with fear about something no child should be afraid of.

Jonathan Mooney was terrified of being asked to take part in a simple classroom activity, reading in class, because he struggled with reading.  But, he became an author and activist who graduated from Brown University with honors in literature.   

This week, he's visiting the South Coast to speak about the issue of learning issues, and how we address them.

Mooney says as a young boy, school was torture, and he would often go to the bathroom and hide to try to as students took turns reading from books.  

Mooney was in fourth grade when he was diagnosed with dyslexia and other learning disorders. By the time he was 12, his struggles became so acute he contemplated suicide.

But, Mooney says his parents, and some of his teachers encouraged him to keep learning.  As he got older, he says he realized the problem wasn't him, but a mostly inflexible system largely incapable of dealing with students who learn in non-traditional ways.

Mooney continued to struggle, but he says a combination of encouragement from others, plus his love of sports kept him from surrendering. He says his desire to play soccer in helped give up enough motivation to stick with middle and high school, and then go on to college.

Mooney has written three books, including “Learning Outside The Lines” and “The Short Bus,” and lectures around the country on how we can do a better job of including, and supporting those who are labeled “leaning disabled”.

He admits he never envisioned some of the things he feared as a child would become the centerpiece of his life. Mooney will speak at Cal State Channel Islands on the subject of “Learning Outside The Lines” Tuesday, February 13th.  The 4 p.m. presentation in the University’s Grand Salon is free, and open to the public.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.